Guilford County leaders deciding how to spend American Rescue Plan funds

Piedmont Triad News

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — Guilford County leaders are considering how to spend $104 million of American Rescue Plan funds. 

The $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill in response to the COVID-19 pandemic was signed into law in March. 

Guilford County Board of Commissioners Chairman Skip Alston said after several community meetings and sending 1,600 surveys to random homes, suggestions have rolled in.

The five-page survey included 21 questions about hardships people have experienced throughout the pandemic. 

“Affordable housing for citizens who have been displaced, rental assistance, mortgage assistance,” Alston said. “Most of the funds that were coming through did not include possibilities or helping people with mortgage assistance.” 

Other suggestions include money for small businesses to bounce back and mental health services. 

Alston told FOX8 municipalities are chiming in too.  

“We’ve heard some of them want major infrastructure,” he said. “They want water and sewer lines, they want broadband, they want Wi-Fi within their community.” 

Cities are also getting ARP funds. Greensboro received nearly $60 million and High Point more than $22 million. The money must be spent by 2026 or returned to the federal government. 

“It’s a large chunk of money at one time and people want to see it put to good use,” said Dr. Randy Elder, the head of UNC Greensboro’s Department of Accounting and Finance. 

He looks at it as strategic investments in the community. He told FOX8 the money will help to pay back losses and get the local economy running again.  

“Despite the fact that the stock market’s high, the economy is expanding, unemployment decreasing, there are people who have been affected and there are continuing health elements of the pandemic that are also an important part of the focus of the rescue plan,” Elder said.

Alston said half of the relief money is currently in the county’s bank account. The remaining portion will be deposited next year. 

“We want to get it right and we want our citizens to feel they had some input on where the money should go,” Alston said. 

Commissioners could consider where the money goes as soon as mid-December.

Contact the commissioner who represents you to share your ideas if you did not receive a survey.

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